172: Christopher Tracy’s Parade

Parade (1986)
Why does Prince’s seventh album attract all the Beatles comparisons when it’s his eighth that opens with this amyl nitrate cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)? The Fab Four is certainly strong in this one. We stand at the start of a quick-fire round of four songs in nine minutes so there’s barely time to take it all in, but it’s the only album track, other than the incidental Venus De Milo and Do U Lie?, to sport the full force of Clare Fischer’s orchestra. Prince asked the newly-hired composer, fresh from collaborating on The Family album, to add orchestration to every song on Parade except Kiss. But his contribution largely wasn’t used. We hear some brief snatches on Anotherloverholenyohead and some violas on I Wonder U, but Christopher Tracy’s (née Wendy’s) Parade gets the full orchestral shebang and it’s a glorious symphony in miniature. A rousing clarion call from a pantheon of forgotten gods, who whoop and holler on their merry train out of oblivion. It serves as a tantalising yet overselling trailer for Under the Cherry Moon, which would never be able to deliver on these cinematic promises.